Parents, superintendent react to loaded gun found inside school

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By Kendall Downing

MUNCIE, Ind. - Parents and students remain on edge after a scary afternoon on Wednesday. They're wondering how a student got a loaded handgun inside Muncie Central High School. The gun was found in a backpack in a freshman's locker.

The district said the student walked in late and smelled of marijuana. An assistant principal called for a school security officer; a search of the locker turned up the gun.

The signs are near the doors, and armed officers stand watch during school at main entrances. But even that didn't stop a student, a freshman, from getting a loaded handgun inside Muncie Central High School.

"We were very lucky today," said Superintendent Tim Heller, "Kids come in off the street, sometimes they bring the ills of society with them."

Heller said staff stopped a dangerous situation. Muncie Central has 1700 students, much bigger this year. The district made Southside High into a middle school, creating a combined, larger high school.

"We have adequate personnel, but you never know," he said.

Heller said the size of the school did not make a difference. He credits fast-acting staff. But parents wonder if staff is enough. The school does not have permanent metal detectors.

"I was concerned about the whole merger," said Carolyn Davis, parent of a senior, "For security not only for students, but the staff, I think you have to do that."

The superintendent parents are the first line of defense in issues like this.

"We need the parents' help. We need parents to spend more time with their youngsters and ask what's going on in school. And if you take a backpack out of the house, then you as a parent should know what's in that backpack," he said.

Heller welcomes parents with security concerns to walk the halls.

"We have adequate supervision in the building, and I would invite any parent that feels it's a problem or not safe to come visit school," he said.

The district sent out an alert to parents after the incident to let them know what happened. They also informed high school students immediately after as well.

The student in question is in juvenile detention. Superintendent Heller said the district will move for his expulsion.

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